It was a great day for studying sharks!
Our Ocean Naturalists caught several sharks aboard the Robert G. Brownlee today. We ended up keeping 3 of the leopard sharks that they caught in our aquarium. When we catch leopard sharks 55 cm or longer, we “tag” them with special identification tags. These tags have a serial number (unique for each shark), MSI’s contact information and instructions to measure the sharks. We keep sharks between 55-65 cm in our aquarium, and our sharks become teachers in our camp and our year round classroom programs. When we catch new sharks, we release the sharks that have been teaching the longest. Once released, if our tagged sharks are caught by anyone else, the catcher can call us to provide information about our shark’s whereabouts and how big it has gotten. All of this information is part of our 40 year old fish data program. Thank you, to our Ocean Naturalists for helping us continue in our research!
The Bay Explorers got to see some of our “teaching sharks” in our aquarium. Leopard sharks are fairly docile, bottom-feeding sharks that are easy to handle and therefore easy to study. Our campers pet the sharks and got face-to-face to see some of their cool adaptations, including their ampullae of lorenzini (electro-sensors), barbels (feelers) and spiracles (pump water over the gills).
Plankton Pioneers studied sharks yesterday and moved on to study ocean fish and invertebrates today. Now that they have studied fish and invertebrates from both the ocean and the bay, can they think of some differences between these animals and habitats? Tomorrow they will continue to learn about more habitats on their “habitat expedition” through the deep sea, marshes and beaches. I can’t wait to see their explorer costumes!